Photo: Davidmiller.photography - see more of his selects below!
Cowboy hats - check. Chilled Montane smoothies - check. Soggy Lake District trails - well, it wouldn’t be the Lakeland 50 & 100 without them, would it? Of course, this isn’t the race’s first rodeo (this year's Lakeland theme was of course, cowboys!), in fact the Lakeland’s been going for a whopping 16 years now! The electrifying atmosphere of the weekend never gets old though.
Despite the threat of slippy, muddy trails underfoot (thanks to an exceptionally wet July up north) spirits were high as hundreds headed to Coniston base camp, ready to take on the 2 challenges! Joining them this year were several #TeamMontane athletes, including experienced Lakeland racer Marcus Scotney, Lakes-based Victoria Thompson & Welsh running legend Simon Roberts. Also racing this year was Ukrainian racer Dariia Bodnar (Dasha), supported by us at Montane. Keep reading to see how they all got on.
In the words of race director Marc Laithwate, “there is no formula for getting to the end of the Lakeland 50 & 100” … and with over 6300m of ascent and roughly a 40% drop out rate, neither race is a walk in the park. As usual, alongside an army of amazing volunteers, we were also on hand at the Kentmere checkpoint. We know it’s a highlight for many of you, so give our Lakeland Spotify playlist a follow to relive your checkpoint moment with us.
Want to relive more incredible Lakeland memories? Keep scrolling…
Photographer David Miller was on hand to capture all the remarkable moments throughout the weekend. Here’s his favourite photos from the race.
Photo 1: A sticky note to celebrate participants' favourite Montane Moments.
Photo 2: John Ruskin School stairwell during the compulsory race briefing. Still heard but alone.
Photo 3: Olivia Hetreed displaying her old-school race cards. FTW!
Photo 4: Less time on the feet is considered marginal gains in ultra-running. Pre-Lakeland 100 starting pen.
Photo 5: Montane athlete Marcus Scotney.
Photo 6: A beautifully remote and technical section of the course leading down in to Boot checkpoint.
Photo 7: Lakeland has its own weather climate. Any shelter will do.
Photo 8: Dockray checkpoint marks the halfway point (just about) for the Lakeland 100 competitors. It’s here where all the emotions are often on display.
Photo 10: Montane had your back the whole way around & their team were on hand to lift spirits at their legendary Kentmere checkpoint 💪🏼
Photo 11: Montane athlete Victoria Thompson powering to an emphatic second place finish during the Lakeland 50!🥈
Photo 12: A welcome sight for runners approaching the popular town of Ambleside. From here you’re on the home straight.
Photo 13: Robert Trigwell taking a moment to grasp a well-executed second place on the Lakeland 50!🥈
Photo 14: Finish line hugs all round for second place finisher and Montane athlete Dariia Bodnar.
Andy Berry took first place in the 100 race, with a time of 20 hours 3 minutes, pipping Jarlath McKenna in the later stages of the race to record the third-fastest time the race has ever seen. Sabrina Verjee was victorious in the women’s event, recording a time of 23 hours, to finish 3 hours 46 minutes ahead of Ukrainian Dariia (Dasha) Bodnar, who came in 2nd. You can hear more from racer Dariia, in our pre-race Q&A.
Over in the Lakeland 50 men’s event, Neil MacNicol emerged victorious with a time of 8 hours and 3 minutes, just ahead of Robert Trigwell in second place. The women’s event saw Katie Kaars Sijpesteijn take gold with a time of 8 hours 23 minutes, while #TeamMontane athlete Victoria Thompson finished runner up with a time of 8 hours 47 minutes.
"The race was challenging but the weather was ideal. The highlight was getting to Kentmere and hearing the bells - it was a great atmosphere, although I struggled coming down the final steep descent into the Coniston quarries. I would encourage anyone who is considering taking part to enter - set yourself a goal and build your training up towards it, and everything will be fine!"
- Victoria Thompson, 2nd Female Finisher of the Montane Lakeland 50
(Montane Athlete Victoria Thompson at the Kentmere checkpoint. Photo Credit: Graham Oakes @grahamoakes)
Unsung racing legends
Returning to take on the Lakeland 100 once again was #TeamMontane’s Marcus Scotney. Hear his reasons for doing so here. Sadly, Marcus had to DNF part way through his 100 attempt, owing to resurfacing old injuries. Rest up, Marcus! Another exciting addition to the Lakeland 50 start line was Welsh athlete and former Dragon’s Back Race winner, Simon Roberts. Having suffered injuries recently, it was great to see him back on the trail and crossing the finish line!
As usual, we had several Montane staff taking on the Lakeland 50 challenge this year. This included returning racers David Williamson and Pete Sissons. Newbies to the race, Jon Scott and Neil Clasper braved the 50 start line as well. We’re pleased to announce they all crossed the finish line and have earned themselves the status of HQ office legends.
(Montane Kentmere checkpoint. Photo Credit: Graham Oakes @grahamoakes)
Finally, we wanted to give a shout out to 100-racer Jason. We met Jason at the 100 briefing and we were thrilled he made it to Kentmere for a smoothie! His journey to the finish line was a painful one, but he pushed through and powered on to conquer the race on Sunday morning. It was a pleasure to meet you, Jason. Just one of countless soul-stirring stories we encountered over the weekend.
Well done to the class of 2023, we tip our cowboy hats in salute to you all!
We always come away from the Lakeland 50 & 100 feeling utterly exhausted, but equally humbled and honoured to have helped play a part in this incredible event. This year was no exception and an extra special one for us, as we mark 30 years of Montane clothing and equipment.
In celebration of this milestone, we asked you to share your favourite #MyMontane moments over the years. The response was phenomenal. Thanks to everyone who took part and shared their stories - we loved reading them all and we hope you enjoy your free Coda Cap.
So, that’s it! The Lakeland 50 & 100 has wrapped for another year. Time for a quick power nap before we gear up to take on the Montane Dragon’s Back Race.
See you all next year? Yee-Haw!